Neil May MBE Memorial Webinar: Mould, Damp and Health Inequalities

A webinar on Mould, Damp and Health Inequalities, organised in memory of Neil May MBE. Hosted by ASBP, UKCMB and UKIEG, with support from the Sustainable Buildings Alliance (SDF) organisations.

This webinar was the part of a series of events in memory of Neil May MBE. Neil was an inspiration to many who work in the built environment sector and was instrumental in the development of many progressive initiatives including ASBP, UKCMB, Good Homes Alliance, STBA and more. Alongside his innovative work on performance in buildings he was passionate about social equality in housing.

All proceeds from the webinar have bene donated to charity with £500 being donated to each of the following:

Thank you to 21° for kindly supporting this event.

Summary

The tragic death of Awaab Ishak in December 2020 shocked us all. The death of a child is always heart-breaking – the more so when it is entirely preventable. Awaab was aged just two when he died, as a direct result of exposure to mould in the social home his family rented in Rochdale. His parents raised concerns about their living conditions time and again. The landlord not only repeatedly failed to act, but shamefully blamed the family for causing the hazardous mould.

Awaab’s Law, which was introduced in the Social Housing Regulation Act 2023, now requires landlords to investigate and fix reported health hazards. The exact timescale for repairs to be made is currently open to consultation until 5th March and we urge all to respond, so we can be sure that such a tragedy is not repeated.

In response to the Coroner’s inquiry into the death of Awab, UKHSA along with DHSC and DLUHC developed a new consolidated guidance on damp and mould aimed at private and social rented landlords, which was published on the 7th of September 2023. UKHSA also led on the quantification of the respiratory burden of disease from exposure to damp and mould in English housing.

English Housing Survey data published in July 2023 found that damp and mould affect 177,000 social homes. BRE, the built environment research body, estimates that around 217,000 social rented homes are blighted by a range of dangerous health and safety hazards. The people who live in them require treatment by the NHS that costs around £65 million a year.

In Blackpool, every single one of the town’s 18,000 private rented homes has a damp and mould problem, according to council figures published by the government in September. Indeed, one in four – about 4,500 homes – were so badly affected they were classed as category 1, a serious threat to health and safety.

Dr. Andy Knox is a GP who leads on population health for the NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria:

“People are stuck between a rock and a hard place,” he said. “This is becoming a really major health issue for us as a nation and we need legislation that is going to properly deal with it.”

Listen in to hear the latest updates and discussed remedial steps, policy and prevention.

Recording

Recording timings

  • An introduction from the chair and recap of Neil May’s considerable achievements
      • 00:00:00 – Simon Corbey, Director, Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP)
      • 00:04.30 – Andy Mitchell, Managing Director, Green Building Store
  • 00:10:00 – Dr Andy Knox, Associate Medical Director, Population Health, NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board
  • 00:43:20 – Prof. Sani Dimitroulopoulou Principal Environmental Public Health Scientist – Indoor Environments, Air Quality and Public Health, UK Health Security Agency and Chair of UKIEG
  • 01:00:24 – Dr Valentina Marincioni, Lecturer (Teaching) in Building Physics, The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources, UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering and UKCMB
  • 01:18:15 – Panel discussion on how best to move forwards
  • 01:30:00 – Close
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